My Grumpy Dad Gets Confused By A Sandwich

Technology can be amazing, but it can also bring a lot of unnecessary stress. Here we follow my dad on his next Grumpy adventure...this time, he runs into a problem while trying to buy a sandwich. Who could get stressed doing that? My dad, that's who. As always my notes are prescripted with this marker: Tess' Note, dad's dialogue is in bold.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I worked in Los Angeles for ten years. Whenever I found myself in Hollywood around noon, I’d stop at Pinks for hot dogs. Mustard, chili and cheese were pretty much the standard toppings. There were other choices, but most of the people I knew just went with mustard, chili and cheese. When I worked in Philadelphia, I loved to eat lunch in Camden, N.J. at a little hole in the wall called Donkey’s Place. If you want the best cheese steaks in Philly, you have to go across the Ben Franklin Bridge to Camden. They use round rolls and they stack the steak high. The grill always has about a two-foot pile of caramelized onions waiting to be tonged onto your mountain of cheesy meat. On each table, there’s a bowl of homemade hot sauce. Roll. Cheesy meat. Onions. Hot sauce. That’s it. When you order, you say, “One cheese steak with onions.” Or, “Two cheese steaks with onions.” When I moved to Cleveland, I was introduced to Slyman’s corned beef sandwiches. Rye bread. Huge pile of corned beef. Swiss cheese. Mustard. That’s it. If you want variety, have them make you a Rueben. Toasted rye bread. Huge pile of corned beef. Melted Swiss cheese. Sauerkraut. Mustard. Simple.

One day last week, I stopped for gas at Sheetz. Sheetz is like the Midwestern version of WaWa, which is the Eastern version of Sheetz. I went inside and noticed a few people waiting at the sandwich counter, where you can also get soup, French fryz, salads, chicken fingers, pizza and other foods that have nothing to do with sandwiches. You cannot, however, speak with the people who will cook your food or build your sandwich. You have to order everything via touch screen menu. Tess' Note: Dad's pretty good with technology, but has a short fuse when it comes to...well, basically anything. Okay, I thought. How hard can it be? I had to touch the damn screen 18 different times before my order was complete. That’s how hard. Eighteen times! First, I had to choose between the food menu and the specialty drink menu. Then I had to choose between sandwiches, breakfast, salads and about five other things. Then I had to choose between the full sandwich menu, the deli menu and the recipe subz menu (they think it’s clever to spell it “subz”). Tess' Note: Someone's especially grumpy today. Then I had to choose between the hot menu, the cold menu and the best value menu. After that, I was asked if I wanted to try their all natural premium Dietz and Watson turkey – as if their other kind of turkey was barely edible synthetic crap. What the hell? I thought after touching the screen for the fifth time without even selecting the kind of meat I wanted. Who are Dietz and Watson anyway? Meat choice was next. Ham, crappy turkey, roast beef, deli meat, tuna and at least five others were on the screen. I chose crappy turkey. I figured I’d have to taste the inferior turkey before I’d be able to appreciate the stuff Dietz and Watson were making.

Bread was next. Foot long? Six inch? Sliced? Then I was asked, seemingly out of sequence, whether I wanted “fryz” inside my sandwich. WTF, I thought. I don’t know what’s dumber—putting French fries inside a sandwich or calling them “fryz.” (Tess' Note: Here we go, the Grumpy is intensifying.) Then I was given five bread choices, along with the option to have no bread at all. How is “no bread” an option on the “sandwich” menu? WTF. I chose multi-grain. Next, it asked if I wanted the whole sandwich toasted (including the lettuce?), just the bread toasted, or none of it toasted. I chose “just the bread” because I’m not a fan of toasted lettuce or tomatoes. Tess' Note: Actually, dad's kind of right. This is pretty overwhelming. Cheese was next. Seven choices, including “no cheese.” I chose Swiss. Toppings were next. Thirty-six choices, including cole slaw. Cole slaw on my sandwich? WTF. Then I was offered “special attractions” like double meat, bacon and pepperoni. After that, they offered side orders--French fryz or onion ringz. I hit the “no thanks” button (they force you to be polite in declining any of their suggestions. They don’t allow you to say, “What? Hell no! If you can’t spell it right, then I don’t want it!") but I’m sure that if I had touched the French fryz icon, I would have been asked if I wanted cheese fryz or chili cheese fryz. I can’t even imagine what kinds of choices come with their onion ringz.

Tess' Note: My head is spinning, and I'm a technology literate's a tutorial someone put up on youtube because so many people were like "WTF" Finally, I was asked to “complete order” or “add another item” or “change quantity.” Then I saw the better option at the bottom right of the screen. “Cancel.” I touched it. It felt good. No more choices. No more decisions. No more fearing that I had missed some hidden cost – like the $1.30 for adding fryz to the interior of the sandwich. I walked outside and filled my gas tank. It was sixteen miles to Slyman’s, where I would order a corned beef on rye.

So dad ended up not even getting the damn sandwich? COME ON! All of that? I guess it's the better option anyway, because who would want to succumb to a bunch of machines? Ok, go Dad.

Would you have bought the sandwich, or pressed cancel? Follow the adventures of My Grumpy Dad every Monday, here on Vingle ;)

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